Hundreds of Lee’s Summit residents could play a part in shaping public and private redevelopment of the city’s historic downtown district.
In late November, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures provided city officials with feedback on how their upcoming Downtown Market Plaza project should take shape. The New York-based placemaking consulting firm gathered the insights from 340 different people, including citizens, business owners and developers, across three October meetings.
Biederman Redevelopment Ventures in April was chosen to manage the effort to reinvigorate a square block across Green Street from the Lee’s Summit City Hall, alongside master developer Lane4 Property Group Inc. Its previous placemaking projects have included Bryant Park in New York City, the Boston Common, Salesforce Park in San Francisco and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas.
“We’ve been in 33 states and seven countries; of all the clients we’ve had, these guys (in Lee’s Summit) are at the top as far as (an) intelligent way to approach a complicated thing, which is to take some space that was kind of empty, owned by the city … and turn it into something,” Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, told the Kansas City Business Journal.
A city concept plan presented for Downtown Market Plaza in July 2020 included a permanent three-season farmer’s market pavilion, a public conservatory, event space, an outdoor performance area and a movable stage. Possible programming could include concerts; painting classes; a reading room with books and print media; and family and children’s programs.
Biederman said his firm will supervise an initial experimental period to gauge what public uses work best and can assist the overall project, including private development to be overseen by Lane4. Although private elements have not yet been locked in, the city’s concept featured a multistory apartment complex, a 30-40 room boutique hotel and a mixed-use commercial building for restaurant or office uses.
The ultimate goal, Biederman said, is to enliven Lee’s Summit’s downtown with beloved public spaces, bringing heightened activity to nearby retailers and additional tax revenues to the city.
“The aim would be, somebody who’s making a trip into town to shop on Third Street then says, ‘Hey, I hear band music around that corner,’ and then they go and see an event happening on City Hall’s plaza,” he said. “They stay around longer and maybe they stay for lunch at one of the food and beverage places on Third. That’s really in every case worked … in every city where we’ve tried it.”
Biederman Redevelopment Ventures also is part of a team working on plans to renovate the Barney Allis Plaza and garage in Kansas City.
The City Council will review the development agreement with Lane4 later in December.
Lee’s Summit also is seeking $200,000 in brownfields cleanup grant funds from the Environmental Protection Agency to help remove asbestos from some city-owned buildings to be demolished and remediate soil with concentrations of lead and petroleum. The city will kick in a $40,000, or a 20% match, mostly in the form of in-kind services from its staff and Lane4.
A conceptual master plan and preliminary budget could be completed in March 2022, with design for public and private components underway through the summer. The project’s public elements then could be completed by early 2024.